This is probably one of the essential topics to be learned if you are preparing for The CompTIA Network+ certification exam.
Every network has a method to retrieve data from one system to another. The network topology is the way that cables and other pieces of hardware are connected to one another.
There are different kinds of topologies in existence, and we will talk about both the old school topologies-bus, ring, and star; and the modern topologies-hybrid and mesh.
BUS and RING TOPOLOGIES:
These are probably the first generation of wired networks used. Bus topology used a single cable(a bus) that connected all the computers in a line. A ring topology, as the name says, it connected all computers on the network with a ring of cable. One of the important points to be remembered is that topologies are diagrams, and a real network does not go in perfect straight lines or perfect circles.
Data flow between the computers in ring and bus topologies. In bus topology networks, data simply went on the whole bus. Bus topology needed termination at the ends of the bus to prevent the reflection of the signal sent from one computer to the ends of the cable.
In a ring topology network, data moved in circles from one computer to the next in the same direction. With no ends in the cable, ring networks required no termination.
These networks worked well but suffered from a common problem: the entire network stopped working if the cable broke at any point. A break in these networks simply stopped the data flow.
The star topology used a central connection box for all the computers on the network. Star topologies offered fault tolerance-if one of the cables broke, all of the other computers could still communicate, this was not seen in bus and ring topology networks.
Network designers couldn’t easily use a star topology as they were highly beneficial, motivating smart folks to come up with a redefined star topology without requiring a major redesign. The network designers first struck by taking the entire ring and shrinking it into a small box.
This was quickly followed by the bus topology folks, who shrunk their bus into a small box.
Physically, both of these hybrid designs looked the same but, if you examined them as an electronic schematic, the signals acted like a bus or a ring.
Any form of networking technology that combined a physical topology with a signaling technology is called a hybrid topology.
Topologies aren’t just for wired networks, wireless networks need them too. They need topologies to send data from one computer to another. But, using radio waves to send the data needs somewhat different topologies. Wireless devices can connect in a mesh topology network, where every computer connects to every other computer via two or more routes.
There are two types of mesh topologies: partially meshed and fully meshed.
In a partially meshed topology, at least two computers are not connected to each other. In a fully meshed topology, every computer connects directly to every other computer.
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